The Islanders and OHLer Mike Halmo have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract.
The 20-year-old winger hails from Waterloo, Ontario, and in his four-year OHL career has shown improvement statistically. In his current season with the Owen Sound Attack, he has posted 84 points (40 G, 44 A) in 64 games played. (Yow.) If you look at those stats, you’ll see that his PIM have also spiked dramatically. He even has his own section on hockeyfights.com and a “fight card” on dropyourgloves.com, leading me to believe he can be a Milan Lucic-type player- an “enforcer” who can score. Matt Martin has attempted to fit that mold currently, but we can always use some more toughness, even if it does come in a smaller package (5’10″, 190 lbs.).
Unfortunately, Halmo has also had the league come down on him for reckless hitting. Two years ago, this hit led him to be suspended for five games. Though he’s known for his hitting (as this blog suggests- look further toward the bottom in the “Honorable Mentions” section), it’s unclear to say whether this could put a damper on his appeal for me. I mean, plenty of players have slipped up in the past, so I’m hoping this was just a very bad decision on his part and not a recurring trend. (Fun fact: Halmo also played with current Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, who is quickly becoming a solid forward in Chicago. The two played very well together, so I’ve gathered.)
(And as I write this, I find this article, which mentions in passing Halmo’s running of the opposing goalie during a delayed-penalty situation in a Memorial Cup playoff game. Oh, nice. Isn’t the Internet fun?)
As far as I can tell, this can go either way. We can be getting either a scoring forward who leaves the feet every once in a while, or a “plug” who can pot some goals. Considering his “fight card” for this season isn’t quite as full as in seasons past, it looks to me like Halmo could be reforming (but the penalty minutes…), but who knows for sure? This kid is still relatively unknown to most Islanders fans, so he’s got that much going for him… for now.
Notes: Micheal Haley was recalled from Bridgeport for tonight’s game against New Jersey. Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin are both out with the flu. Oh, goody. Look for Michael Grabner to make his re-appearance in the lineup as well.